It’s So Easy a Child Can Do It…

This past weekend my oldest was jumping in the backyard in her bounce house.  She was having a blast and laughing and calling constantly, “watch this, daddy!  Watch this!”  I naturally watched as she jumped as high as she could.  Landing on her knees and trying to bounce back into her feet.

Then after about twenty minutes, she was bored.  She asked me what she should do next.  I asked her, how’s your front roll.  So she did a front roll.

I said, “Great, now show me ten perfect front rolls”.

“Sure, but will you count, daddy?”


She started and I would say…one perfect roll, two perfect roll, three perfect roll, four….

“Daddy, was that one perfect?”

“Not quite as good as the other three, but if you want, I will count it.”

“No, no, no…I will do it again.”

And this went on.  She would roll and roll and roll.  And after ten perfect rolls, she asked me for what next.  So we worked on her candlesticks.  Again, she asked me to count but this time she told me to only count them if they are perfect.  As she progressed through the candlesticks, she started to realize what was a “perfect” rep and those that weren’t.  When the rep was not perfect she would come up laughing but say “no, no, no that one doesn’t count” and reset for another one.

It is easy to see where this is leading.  We as athletes learning our craft we must be willing to say “no,no,no with a smile and do the rep over again”.  As a group of people who desire to be better in lifting and in life, we have to be willing to say that was not right and I am going to do it again.

But do we?

Do we acknowledge the faults in our reps and not count them or do we live in a world of close enoughs and almosts?  Do we accept a half squat when we know we can accomplish the full squat?  Do we even challenge ourselves to do the best work we can do each and every day.

Like this time with my daughter, re-doing a rep is not punishment.  It doesn’t have to feel terrible and miserable.  It doesn’t mean that we failed, it means that we have a certain standard that we are trying to meet with the things that we do.  It is imperative that we hold the standard.

It’s something so simple, a child can do it.

Keeping it Real…Real Simple!

A lot of coaches and gyms out there will spend hours upon hours upon hours trying to figure out what workout they want to put you through.  There is a growing need to feed the myth that if you are not smoked wondering what happened and afraid that your left lung might just pop out and land next to you on the floor, you did not get a hard enough workout.  You were not challenged enough and therefore will be missing out on these things known as…gains.

People will tell me, that workout looks fun.  It looks like a laundry list of movements and weights.  It doesn’t look fun, it looks miserable.  And there is a time and a place for miserable, but everyday is not it.  Those workouts are there because you have to test your endurance, your mindset and some days you just want to feel that pain.  But that shouldn’t be the case everyday.

Results come from smart training, pure and simple.  Results come from time under tension, stress on the system and simple systems.  There is nothing magical about Wendler and his 5-3-1 principles, but they get results.  If you want a muscle-up…pull-ups, dips, and working the transition.  Simple movements.  Simple combinations, results will come.

The problem that we all run into is that we are impatient and unwilling to really test ourselves in these simple movements.  We are more afraid to go heavier than we previously have, than we are to do hundreds of reps at a lighter weight.  We are afraid of the struggle and afraid of failure.  Those athletes that are willing to stick to simple programs with increasing challenges in the same movements see better results in my experience.

I am a huge advocate of trying new things and learning new skills.  But that is not a direct part of your training, it is a result of your training.  It is a result of feeling stronger and more comfortable in the basics that allows you to try and conquer new challenges.  Want to walk around the gym on your hands?  How strong is your press?  Do you hold a tight core and correct posture?  How smoothly can you kick up and how is your balance throughout a basic lunge?  What about the ability to bend over and touch your toes?

I hate hearing that people are bored with their training, but I also want to see your development.  Are you tracking the progress because few people are bored with results and bigger numbers (or smaller times).  Train in couplets and triplets of movement that help you get better in your weaknesses and stay solid in your strengths.  Accept that you might lose a little in one area to be better in another and play the balancing game.  Embrace that challenge to put more weight on the bar when it is time to, and take some off, when it is time to.  Trust your coach, trust the process.

Embrace the suck, enjoy the results!

The Podcast is Back! (Video Even)

I know, I have failed to get a solid podcast out recently so that is changing today.  I have wrapped one up and am putting it out here today.  It is not super polished, but it is at least some new content for you.  In this one, I look at a couple of different things.

  1.  How you should be looking at goals.  It is not a pass/ fail scenario but a journey on a continuum.
  2. A couple of books that you might want to check out for that mental side of life.
  3. Applying the “Golden Circle” to your training

I hope that there is something of value for everyone as you go through and watch the video.

Training with the Barbell Poet

Aside from being a part of a great team at The BodyLab, I also run personal training sessions and offer distance training and programming if that is something that you are looking for.  All of them offer their own set of challenges and benefits to the athlete.  If you are looking for group classes and you live in the Bryan/ College Station area, I recommend you read the following about the BodyLab.

If you are looking for a more personal approach to your fitness, let me take a minute and tell you how I go about developing your program and getting you to reach your goals.  First and foremost, I will interview you to see what you want to accomplish.  From there, we will develop a plan and workout schedule.  As you start your training journey with me, I will use the first several session to assess exactly where you are and what your weaknesses are.  I will ask you to perform several lifts and movements to see general movement patterns.  We will also discuss nutritional goals and how to eat for success.

Once this is completed, we will again talk about what I saw and start working on the specific weaknesses.  This is where I will always ask that you trust the process.  You might not see how the pieces fit together, but that is my job.  I will do my best to tell you what the overall picture is and how the pieces fit, but there will be times, where I will stretch you in order to make you a better athlete and help you reach the goals that you have set.  Some of the training days will be established so that you do not lose the progress we have made.

After assessing the weaknesses, we start addressing them.  If you are someone that is physically training with me, we will talk constantly about fixing faults and focusing on the things that are vitally important to you achieving your success.  I will also offer you supplemental work, depending on how often you are training with me.  If you are training with me to supplement group classes, we will work specifically on addressing the imbalances in your training.  If you are training with me to get better technique, then we will focus again on the weaknesses that are present in technique.

If you are training only with me, then we will address your strengths to make them stronger and help make your weaknesses less challenging.  We will work through the imbalances that you face and help you find exactly what you need to be successful and reach your goals.

If you choose to do distance training with me, I will ask that you film at a minimum one of your workouts a week and then I will dissect the film and walk you through what I see.  We will also schedule a once a week skype coaching session to talk about how you are feeling and how you are progressing.

No matter what method you choose to train with me, you will be asked to log your workouts and your meals.  Why?  It breeds success.  I can review those, and I will know when you are not being honest.  I will call you out.  I will also ask you to read articles and books along the way.   A weak mind will lead to a weak body…and a strong mind is the basis of a strong body.

If you train with me, I set some high expectations and expect the best from you.  I am giving you my best and focusing on you getting to the next level.  If you do not want it bad enough, I will move on to someone who does.  Training with me is not about the money, it is about a desire to get better inside and outside the gym.

If you are up to the challenge, get in touch with me and let’s get started!